Monthly Archives: May 2017

Church and Lighthouse on Gozo

This is a view of a church and lighthouse on Gozo, an island that is part of the Maltese archipelago of three islands. We photographed the view in the morning light before everything was too harsh. Gozo is a beautiful and laid back place where I think one could spend a fair amount of dreamy time wandering the cliffs above the Mediterranean. For some reason, there are a large number of out-of-scale and out-of-the-way big, fairly modern churches—like the one shown—in many places on Gozo.

Church and Lighthouse, Gozo © Harold Davis

I’m caught up in the rush of being home in California, photographing flowers, organizing future workshop and travel plans, and being with family. But I’m trying to go through my images from the past several months travel in Vietnam, France, Spain, and—yes!—Malta, and gradually process some of these images.

Special thanks to Paul, we could not have wished for a better photographic guide to Gozo. Gozo, the mythological Ogygia, home to Calypso in the Odyssey, is a place I really, really hope to visit again.

Posted in Landscape, Malta, Monochrome

Internship position available

We are looking for a hands-on intern with a serious interest in art and photography. The position will pay a modest stipend and/or garner academic credit (to be arranged depending on the individual situation). Please feel free to pass this post on if you know someone you think would be right! 

Here’s are some more details:

Harold Davis Art & Photography, located in Berkeley, California, is the business arm representing Harold Davis, an internationally recognized artist and photographer whose work is exhibited, collected, and licensed widely. Harold Davis is an experienced and widely sought-after workshop leader, and the author of many books related to art and photography from publishers including Random House, Monacelli Press, and Focal Press. Our website is

We seek an intern who is a self-starter, reliable, organized, and interested in hands-on art and photography. Primary duties will include assisting with printmaking, handmade artist book collation, work on studio design projects, and general studio duties. We are looking for an intern who can commit to ten hours per week. We are hoping that this internship will also qualify for academic credit, and to that end will supervise the interface between a creative project of the intern and real world implementation of said project.

Applicants should make contact by email with a resume, cover letter, brief statement of what they hope to get out of the internship, and (if available) a link to an online portfolio.

Bouquet of Neighborhood Flowers © Harold Davis

Posted in Business of Art

The Amazing World of Flowers

One of the things I love most about flower photography is that it compels one to look closely at flowers. The more you look, the more you see! What a wild world of beauty and diversity, with shapes, colors, forms that rival the world at large in light, rhythm, variety, harmony, and tumult.

Flower Petals © Harold Davis

Related story: Recent Flower Photos.

Rose Central © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Recent Flower Photos

I’m happy to take advantage of the wonderful spring flowers this year here in California, and make up for the time I was traveling with some extensive flower photography! Here are some flower images from the past few days, with more to come. Yay! I love flower photography.

Please keep in mind two upcoming flower photography workshops I will be giving: In Berkeley, CA Thursday June 22 – Sunday June 25 and in Rockport, Maine Sunday July 31 – Saturday August 5. Click here for my upcoming Workshops & Events calendar.

With a couple of these images (like the flower globes immediately below) to get the idea you really need to click the image to view it larger!

Great Balls of Flowers © Harold Davis

Dark Star © Harold Davis

Flower Power (via iPhone capture) © Harold Davis

Matilija Poppies – Variation I © Harold Davis

Matilija Poppies – Variation II © Harold Davis

Tower of Flowers © Harold Davis

May Flowers on Black © Harold Davis

Flowers for Luis (via iPhone capture) © Harold Davis

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Fulsome Praise for The Photographer’s Black & White Handbook

I am blushing! From the Seattle Book Review: “Harold Davis is the digital black and white equal of Ansel Adams’s traditional wet photography. Adams would be awed by Davis’s work. In The Photographer’s Black and White Handbook Davis presents a large number of his photographs, and virtually every one is a masterpiece, ready for gallery or museum exhibit. In spite of the coffee-table quality of this volume, Davis meant to give us a teaching tool, a handbook for serious digital photographers.” Click here to read the full review.

Posted in Writing

Upcoming Flower Photography Workshop—A Few Spaces Available—Other Updates

We have only a few spaces open in my upcoming Flower Photography Intensive 4-Day Workshop here In Berkeley California coming next month, June 22-25, 2017. This will be a great time photographing flowers in the field, on the studio, on the light box, and exploring the ins-and-outs of my “special sauce” post-production techniques.

I have a version of this workshop I’ll be leading the first week in August at Maine Media Workshops but otherwise I will not be scheduling Flowers for Transparency again for a long while (at least in the United States), probably not until well into 2018 or 2019. So if my techniques interest you, please take advantage of these opportunities, strategically located on each of the two coasts!

Flower Tondo 1 Variation © Harold Davis

Flower Tondo 1 Variation © Harold Davis

Please also note three other scheduled workshops that still have openings:

Save the Dates: You may also be interested the continuation of my series of webinars for Topaz Labs, scheduled for Tuesday June 6, 2017 at 2PM. If you are a local photographer, I’d like to invite you to save Thursday November 9, 2017 for the opening of my exhibition at Shoh Gallery here in Berkeley, CA. As always, you can track what I am up to on my Works & Events page and in the Photography with Harold Davis Meetup!

My new book: The Photographer’s Black & White Handbook, has been receiving good reviews from readers and press such as Library Journal, Midwest Review, Popular Photography, and Rangefinder. Click here for my book on Amazon. For your reference, my Author Page on Amazon with info about many of my books and more is and, if you are interested, here is my biography as a photographer and writer on Wikipedia

Recent YouTube Videos: As part of the publicity for the book launch I recorded a number of live events, which you may be interested to view on YouTube:

Best wishes to all in photography and creativity!

Harold Davis

Golden Gate Splash © Harold Davis

Golden Gate Splash © Harold Davis


Brantome (via iPhone) © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Workshops

Potemkin Water Wheel

This photo of kids playing on a river bank near a waterwheel is from a tribal village near Sapa in the north of Vietnam. The thing to observe is that the water wheel is not connected to anything.

Water Wheel © Harold Davis

In fact, the mountainous north of Vietnam is getting damned for hydroelectric power at a fast pace. Although this will certainly alter the landscape, it is probably for the best assuming that at least some of the power and prosperity benefits the local communities (although you know what they say about assumptions!).

But this water wheel, and the whole village it is in, are in effect a Potemkin artifact—constructed as a photo opportunity for gullible tourists.

Posted in Vietnam

The Reality of Sapa, Vietnam

From six thousand miles away, reading about Sapa in the Lonely Planet guide and on the internet, I thought the city would be as advertised: a serene portal to the mountains of North Vietnam with access to tribal areas and trekking. Up close, in Sapa, this is pretty much a joke. As you can see in the photo, Sapa is a busy place.

Sapa (click image to view larger) © Harold Davis

I made this image using multiple captures at different exposures from the second-floor balcony of my hotel room. What you can’t see from the photo is the noise: for starters, motorcycles roaring and karaoke blasting from the hotel behind me, later as darkness fell a roaring street party and bar scene.

What you also can’t see in this image is the extent of new construction going on in Sapa, most of it pretty ugly.

True, there are some nice mountains nearby. And Sapa is where you catch the gondola up the highest mountain in southeast Asia. But the tribal villages nearby are pretty much dressed up tourist attractions. And the Hmong people on the streets of Sapa are thrown like lambs to the slaughter of the tourist cycle that devours all authenticity.

As I wrote in my previous story on Sapa, while I expected Sapa to be somewhat touristic, I didn’t expect the crazy cultural dissonance I found. There’s more construction going on here than anywhere I’ve seen recently, up to and including the west side of Manhattan. There’s a street party going on right now that could be Times Square. From one side the noise of the partying on the streets meets loud Karaoke coming from the other.

Meanwhile, the tribal Hmong people are reduced to a kind of side show of street vendors (like the beautiful “black” Hmong shown in the photo) and persistent hawking of ersatz crafts by Hmong young and old.

It’s hard to see the construction boom here as anything other than a bubble fueled by easy money, and it is hard to see all this as ending well for the Hmong and other ethnic Vietnamese minorities, and hard to see visitors who aren’t the Disneyland types anything but quite disappointed.

Posted in Vietnam

Introducing Multiple Exposures

Phyllis and I are working on an artist’s book—really a booklet—based on my Multiple Exposures body of work. The title, Multiple Exposures, is a play on the technique used, and the fact that the models in the images are exposed (so if female nudity offends you, this work is not for you).

The style of this artist’s book is what we’ve come to call a “pocket” portfolio. It is printed and hand-bound here in my studio, with the intended use of showcasing my images (with some our our pocket portfolios, Moab Paper has also used them at trade shows to demonstrate various paper stocks).

While Multiple Exposures will not be for sale, constructing it is labor intensive and copies are obviously limited. I truly believe that each copy will be regarded as a valuable collectible in times to come. If you are an art gallery interested in this work, or a collector interested in a print, I am happy to arrange for a personal showing.

Wheel of Life © Harold Davis

Here’s the introduction I wrote for the Multiple Exposures artist’s book:

As a technique, the in-camera multiple exposure has its roots in the film era, with notable examples including the surrealistic imagery of Man Ray and others. The digital era has to a great extent eclipsed the use of the multiple exposure, but this forgotten and important element of our photographic heritage can be used to make images that are difficult—or impossible—to create in post-production alone.

Working with a model, the process is both choreographic and collaborative. The model and I agree on the shape that is to be created using the individual components of the multiple exposure, and establish marks. The model then takes each position in turn, and with a great deal of bidirectional communication I fire the strobes and camera on a dark background.

Some of my original thinking when I began this work was to reference relevant historical art using the medium of the in-camera multiple exposure, hence Rodin, Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp. But as I went along I became more interested in creating entirely new elements of the life force. In some sessions this was romantic and sexual, in others the insect kingdom intruded.

Finally, as in all things philosophic, the religious made its appearance—with the bizarre sensual sadism that is part-and-parcel of Western ideology, followed by references to an as-yet-unnamed theology that owes something to Hinduism, and something to the hope that each of us can recognize the light within each other.

Gates after Rodin © Harold Davis

Related story: You can read more about my Gates after Rodin image in A Rorschach for MFAs, and how I began doing these images here. For more stories and images, check out the Multiple Exposures category on this blog.

Posted in Models, Multiple Exposures, Writing

Lace from Gozo

This is a piece of handmade lace from the island of Gozo, one of the islands in the Maltese archipelago. I bought the lace notionally as a present for Phyllis, and photographed it on a light box. To put the lace on a black background, I inverted it in the LAB color space in Photoshop, then converted the image to black and white.

Lace from Gozo © Harold Davis

Posted in Malta, Monochrome

Home is Best…with Flower Photography

As the saying goes, “You may travel east, you may travel west, but in your heart you know home is best!” In the past two months, I have traveled east (Vietnam), and I have traveled west (France and Malta)—although arguably since the earth is a globe every place is west of California. Or east.

In any case, it is good to be home, particularly when spring and the flowers are so much in bloom as they are in Berkeley, California. I was home in time for Katie Rose’s birthday, and am enjoying spending some time with Phyllis and the kids, and recharging my batteries.

Gladiolas and Campanulas © Harold Davis

In this image, the gladiolas are from Trader Joe’s and the bellflowers (campanulas) from our garden. I used seven exposures with my D810 and Zeiss Otus 55mm/1.4 on a tripod over a light box. The exposures were all at ISO 64 and f/16, and ranged from 1/30 of a second to 4 seconds. I combined the exposures in Photoshop, and added them to a scanned background, using techniques that I explain in my workshops.

Enthusiastic about flower photography? You might want to consider joining us here in Berkeley, Ca next month for a joyous flower photography time where I will share my secret sauce techniques for transparent flower photography and beyond (we still have a few spaces left)!

Also note that I will be teaching related flower photography techniques this year at Maine Media Workshops the first week in August.

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Workshops

Pear (or Pair)

Good to be home to a land of lush florals and fruit supreme, always with anthropomorphic potential. Taking a little time to be laid back, while Phyllis and I consider our plans for the second half of 2017 and 2018. The pair, er pear, below photographed with my 50mm f/2 Zeiss macro, the fiddlehead fern (bottom) is an iPhone image made at Berkeley Bowl.

Pear © Harold Davis


Fiddling © Harold Davis

Related image: Red Pepper.

Posted in Photography

Getting Inside My Head

Well, I’m not exactly John Malkovitch, but I am pleased and excited to see this attempt to “Get inside the head of this marvelous man whose writing is as evocative as his art (and find out what he eats for breakfast!)” on the Mid Century Books blog. The “marvelous man” would be me…not Malkovitch, LOL. Thanks Mid Century Books, truly appreciated. Stay tuned for a podcast interview with the editor at Mid Century Books.

Villandry © Harold Davis


Posted in Writing

Goodbye Malta!

I am home today after a long day in transit yesterday from Valletta, Malta early in the morning to Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris, France, followed by a fairly long layover then a nonstop from Paris to San Francisco, where Phyllis and Katie met me. Travel and Malta are beginning to seem like a dream! On my Air France flight home I binge watched an entire season of Game of Thrones, after learning that much of the location photography for the series was done on Malta.

This is an iPhone image I made from the terrace of my hotel on my last evening in Valletta, the capital of Malta. I shot two versions, one exposed to be bright and the other dark, and combined the versions manually on my iPhone using the TrueHDR app.

Valletta © Harold Davis

Related story: Impregnable

Posted in iPhone, Malta

This evening on Xlendi Bay

Here are two iPhone images I made this evening with walking along the esplanade at the end of narrow and picturesque Xlendi Bay on the wonderful Maltese island of Gozo.

Xlendi Bay © Harold Davis

Xlendi Bay © Harold Davis


Street Lamp © Harold Davis

Street Lamp © Harold Davis

Posted in iPhone, Malta